Football : Gold Cup qualifiers second round for St Kitts and Nevis

Concacaf Photo Teammates Romaine Sawyer (left) and Rowan Liburd (right) congratulate St Kitts & Nevis captain and goalkeeper Julani Archibald after they beat Curaçao 3-2 on penalties in the Concacaf Gold Cup on Friday at the DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


A COUPLE of daring saves from their captain and goalkeeper Julani Archibald enabled St Kitts and Nevis to upset Curaçao 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time in the first round of the preliminary stage in the Concacaf Gold Cup on Friday in the United States.

Archibald blocked the first and fourth penalties from Kevin Felida and Vurnon Anita, respectively, before Leandro Bacuna shot the fifth and final for the Concacaf 14th-ranked Curaçaoans over the crossbar to spark celebrations in the camp of the Sugar Boyz, as the Kittitians are known, appearing in the tournament at this stage for the first time.

For St Kitts and Nevis, Romaine Sawyer had his penalty blocked, but Mervin Lewis, Carlos Bertie, and Tyquan Terrell, their scorer in regulation time, were unerring and earned their 21st-ranked side a famous win in the night capper of a triple header at the DRV PNK Stadium.

Earlier, Concacaf number-19 Guadeloupe easily eliminated number-20 Antigua and Barbuda 5-0, and number-12 Martinique had to dig deep to shake off number- 24 St Lucia 3-1 in the second match.

The results meant that St Kitts and Nevis, Guadeloupe, and Martinique move on to the second round of the preliminary stage to be played on Tuesday at the same venue.

Curaçao had only themselves to blame after taking a lead in the 22nd minute when Jurgen Locadia let loose a low strike from the top of the penalty area that barely made it past the fingertips of Archibald to secure his first international goal and give the Dutch side a 1-0 lead at halftime.

The Sugar Boyz played with a sense of purpose in the second half, and Omari Sterling-James almost found the equaliser in the 49th minute from long range, but Curaçao goalkeeper Eloy Room parried the ball away.

Curaçao still maintained control of the match, but they were not able to break down St Kitts and Nevis’s defence, and Archibald proved to be the rock between the uprights, intercepting several crosses and chances that may have challenged a player of lesser calibre.

The Kittitians soaked up the pressure, and they got their breakthrough in the 83rd minute when Tiquanny Williams cut the ball back towards the penalty spot, and Terrell rocketed it straight into the top corner of the net for a dramatic late equaliser.

Once the final whistle sounded, the match proceeded to a penalty shootout, and the heroics of Archibald extended a lifeline to St Kitts and Nevis in the single elimination preliminary stage of the tournament.

Up to press time, there had been no results from the games that would feature the teams’ opponents in the second round.

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